Yechury asks government to give independence to CBI
Accusing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government of bringing in a “weak” Lokpal Bill that was also against the “spirit of Constitution,” the Left parties on Thursday said in the Rajya Sabha, the Centre failed to fulfil the promise it made to the nation, while conveying the Parliament's sentiments following Anna Hazare's fast in August, to make a strong law to tackle corruption.
Asserting that not just one Lokpal would root out corruption but other enabling laws on judicial accountability, whistle-blower and citizen charter were also needed to fight graft, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI (M), participating in the debate on the Lokpal Bill, urged the government to accept his four amendments — giving powers to States to set up their own Lokayuktas; making appointment and dismissal process of the Lokpal more democratic and representative; inclusion of corporates and foreign-funded NGOs under the Lokpal; and giving more independence and autonomy to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Mr. Yechury said, incorporation of State Lokayukta in the Bill was against the “interest of the country” as it would weaken the federal structure.
“The Centre should only give guidelines on setting up of the institution of Lokayukta and let States have powers to make their own law. The spirit of the Constitution must be kept in mind while framing the law,” he urged.
Mr. Yechury asked the government to give independence to the CBI by bringing it out of the government control but not without fixing accountability.
He lambasted the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) for not opposing the draft Bill in the Cabinet and letting the government bring in a flawed bill.
Include corporate sector, says CPI
D. Raja (CPI) accused the civil society organisations of diminishing position of the Parliament and demanded that nothing should be done to subvert the federalism. He also sought bringing of the corporate sector under the ambit of the Lokpal.
Other Opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United) and Biju Janata Dal also opposed the “weak” Bill. Stating that the entire process of formation of the Lokpal was “totally flawed” that needed a relook, Ramgopal Yadav (SP) demanded bringing media organisations under the ambit of the Lokpal.
Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) said the Bill was “toothless” that was brought under pressure, and demanded clean-up of entire poll process, while Pyarimohan Mohapatra of the BJD questioned omission of the CBI and Group C and D officials in the Bill, as not including them would not give relief to common man and fail to check graft at the grassroots level.
V. Maitreyan of the AIADMK said his party favoured a strong and effective Lokpal but was against including Prime Minister as well as Chief Ministers under its ambit.
Interestingly, UPA-ally DMK asked the government not to attempt a legislation that encroaches on States' powers. “I support the Bill on behalf of the DMK. However, we need an explanation from the government. We are concerned to some extent. The Centre should not encroach upon or trespass into the territory of the States,” said DMK's T. Siva.